When I was a teenager, dreaming to become a basketball player, I once read that Mickael Jackson, the singer, was single; and that another great athlete – I don’t remember the name – was also single.
I couldn’t believe it. How can you be so charismatic and be single? How can you draw so much attention and be single? How can people scream your name but still be single? How is it possible to be single while everybody seems to want a piece of you?
Alistair Brownlee, British triathlete and 2-time Olympic champion writes in his autobiography “Swim, Bike, Run” that being in a relationship with an athlete is hard because an athlete is very self-centred.
I became a professional triathlete in my 30’s. Before that, I had consecutive long-term relationships but after that I became and stayed single.
And when you’re single, everybody asks you “Why? How come you’re single?”
So I thought about it.
One day, I was talking about how free I was, being an athlete, and a friend told me, jokingly, “You’re not free, your dream is holding you prisoner”
Is that what it is? Are elite athletes and elite performers in general, single, just because they’re obsessed by themselves and their quest for excellence and perfection?
There is some truth to that but it’s a bit too vague.
I retired from professional triathlon at 39 years old and just 2 months later, I got into a new healthy, loving relationship.
What has changed?
The answer is actually very simple and can actually be helpful to anyone who is single and who wants to be in a relationship.
If you are single, it’s simply because you don’t meet enough new people. It’s not because you’re not wealthy enough, it’s not because you’re not good looking enough, it’s not because you’re not World Champion yet. It’s because you don’t meet enough new people.
When I retired, I decided to pursue other goals and most of my personal goals are related to Japan, Japanese people and the Japanese language. Therefore, I started to spend a lot of time meeting people to practice Japanese, my third language. At one point, I met – and had real conversations – with 30 different women in 30 days.
On the 30th day, I found my girlfriend.
I believe it is really as simple as that. At that time, I met 30 women in 30 days. I am not sure I met 30 new women during my whole triathlon career.
You also need to understand that “meeting” implies “speaking” and “getting acquainted with”. I am not talking about seeing 30 profile pictures. I am talking about meeting people, asking them questions and listening. When you’re a professional athlete, you encounter different people all the time, you say “Hi” to strangers all day long, you even have great and fun “one minute conversations” with some. But that’s all it is.
If you’re a single elite athlete and don’t understand why you’re single, and wish to start one relationship, simply meet more people and speak with them. Go out. Go out when you can. Once a week. Not too far from your home.
Imagine that I introduce you to 100 persons of your favorite gender and age, girl or boy, woman or man.
How many do you think, you will you want to kiss?
How many do you think, you will you want to start a relationship with?
If you said 2, then realize you only need to meet, speak and get to know 50 new persons to find your new girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, etc. That can be 50 person in 50 weeks. Like I did, you can join a public speaking group, a language exchange group, a choir and just go there once a week. You can also use dating websites. Dating websites are like any project, people look at you weird at the beginning, then they’re jealous when you succeed.
Inside of us, we all want to be elite, amazing or splendid because we want to appeal to someone, to show someone that actually we’re better than he/she thought. We all feel this. We all want to be congratulated by a special someone, whether it is a coach, a family member, someone we admire, someone who judged us or a special someone we haven’t encountered yet.
As I always say, you don’t want to jeopardize your training or your athletic dreams just to find Love. But if you’re an athlete and finding love is important for you, then once in a while, at a time that is right for you, you need to go out of your bubble, meet and speak.
It’s really that easy.
If you’re a male or female athlete, I’d love to get your opinion on this.
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